Ohio sports betting falls into place on Jan. 1 as the Buckeye State joins the growing list of states with legalized online sports betting.
Whether you reside in the state or not, I want to help you attack Ohio sports betting apps and sportsbooks on Day 1. If you’re sharp, new at hustling sportsbook promotions or looking for a reason other than ice fishing to take the family to Lake Erie for New Year’s Eve, we’re here to help make your visit smooth.
And if you just want to see what sports betting bonuses are going to be available in Ohio, we have that information, too.
Getting to Ohio for Legal Sports Betting
If your only goal is to fly into Ohio, do your plus-EV business and get out, check flights into Cincinnati and Toledo first and leave Cleveland last. I’m a fan of Southwest Airlines because canceling and changing flights at the last minute is seamless and free. The drawback is most flights from major cities to Cleveland on Southwest have one or more stops. For an airport as big as Cleveland Hopkins International, it’s surprisingly tricky to find nonstop flights into the Forest City.
I know some of you don’t like open seating or listening to flight attendants tell dad jokes but when you’re somewhere waiting for a bet to settle or bonus money to hit your account and you need an extra few hours, the ease of Southwest Airlines is second to none. (Ed. note: Over the last weeks of the year, Southwest is experiencing massive waves of flight cancellations, though the airline has said it will restore normal service by Dec. 30.)
When traveling to Ohio, consider that it’s bordered by several other states with legal betting: Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana and Michigan.
Most (not all) online sports books only allow you one account per player regardless of state. If you open a DraftKings account in Arizona, that’s the same account you’ll access when you’re in Pennsylvania. But some states do offer sites that aren’t available everywhere.
I encourage you to do your own research and consider traveling to a neighboring state to take maximum advantage of all the sportsbooks available to you.
If I were starting fresh I’d fly into Pittsburgh. You can drive between any combination of Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia in about an hour’s time. It is possible to hit all three states in a day, fit in a sit-down lunch and not feel rushed.
You want to be 30 minutes from a state’s border to avoid issues with the sportsbook’s geolocation software. Things can get glitchy if you’re standing just inside a state’s border. Either the geolocation won’t identify you in the correct state or it might only partially, kicking you on and off the site. Both of these scenarios can cause your account to become temporarily locked and if it happens enough, possibly terminated.
Sportsbook Kiosks Everywhere!
Each state looks to implement their own signature on sports betting. In Ohio sports betting that will be the proliferation of kiosk betting outside of casinos. Ohio will allow more than 600 sports betting kiosks to be placed in bars, bowling alleys, supermarkets, and other non-gambling places of business. These kiosks will allow sports bettors to make bets using cash or winning tickets. Sharp bettors have long found sports betting kiosks to be a useful tool. They can jam small wagers through without getting noticed by the risk traders. It is very possible Ohio will be the Buckeye Boomtown for kiosk bettors.
It remains to be seen how these kiosks will handle age verification or which operators will be in which places of business. However, if you’re looking to make wagers on markets where a traditional sportsbook might grow quickly tired of your action, utilizing multiple kiosks could be a great option for you.
Where Do Sports Bettors Stay in Ohio?
I’ll make this quick. I like Holiday Inn Express. I’ve stayed hundreds of nights in Holiday Inn Express hotels all over the country and they are by far the most comfortable, clean, and easiest to check in. In my experience they are better than any other off-the-highway hotel chain. For an average national price of $125, you can’t go wrong.
If you’re on vacation with the family ice fishing on Lake Erie, OK, fine, get something with a fireplace. But if you’re on the road to make money, Holiday Inn Express. Tell them I sent you.
Getting Your Funds Onto Ohio Sports Betting Apps
First the bad – online banking for sports betting sites is lousy. I struggled with the decision to use the word lousy because it’s the kind of word my Depression-era dad would say and not a forward-thinking millennial woman like myself. But you guys, there’s no other way to say it, banking for online casinos is lousy. The bright side is you have time to sort banking issues out before Ohio sports betting launches.
The short answer to the banking problem is to use PayPal linked to a bank account (not a debit card). Several credit card companies and banks won’t allow you to deposit to online casinos, legal or not. Somehow the team over at DraftKings hasn’t yet booked a meeting with Visa to get this sorted out.
Credit cards don’t always fail, but the success rate isn’t what it should be when dealing with a billion-dollar industry. Debit cards are even worse.
PayPal business accounts are restricted from depositing, but otherwise I find PayPal to be the easiest online banking method. Others include e-checks and ACH transfers, which are both accomplished by entering your bank information directly into the sports betting app. Though these methods have a high success rate, right now you should be extra cautious if you choose to go these routes.
Legal Sports Betting Still Requires Caution
In recent months, dozens of players have had money siphoned from their bank accounts into fraudulent casino accounts.
Victims created legitimate accounts using their banking information which was then exploited thanks to third-party payment processors’ lack of security.
It worked like this: Player A connects their bank account via ACH transfer to a sportsbook or other online casino. Payment processors verified Player A’s real name, bank details and Social Security number. Player B, the scammer, gets hold of Player A’s information and uses that to open a new account at another book. Because Player A had already been verified, Player B was able to open a new casino account in Player A’s name, and use already-connected banking information to fund fraudulent accounts.”
Once the stolen money was in an online account, the scammer would withdraw the funds into a new debit card or account they had created in the real person’s name, including Venmo Debit Mastercards. From there they’d transfer the money to themselves. Two-factor authentication is not a fail-safe but if you’re going to use e-check or ACH transfer for an online sports book, I recommend you enable it.
Wiring money directly from your bank is the most practical choice when depositing five figures or more but a wire is not instant and it’s not uncommon for the site to process the wire in a longer time frame than advertised. If you don’t have a VIP host and your wire doesn’t hit in the time you thought it would, you can end up on a wild goose chase tracking your money down. You may as well block off 10 hours of your time to chat with and email customer service representatives. A common response to an issue like a misplaced wire is, “Thank you for your inquiry. We are working on the issue and will contact you when we have more information.”
Depositing Cash the Old-Fashioned Way
You don’t want to have a banking issue with an online casino for all the obvious reasons but when you add a horrible customer service experience on top of it, even a seasoned monk would have a hard time staying calm. Customer service within the regulated online sports betting industry is some of the worst you’ll ever encounter. If you find yourself in this spot repeat to yourself, “If they were good at their job I wouldn’t be able to make money. If they were good at their job I wouldn’t be able to make money.” Then breathe.
To avoid online banking altogether, there are options to deposit in person either with a cashier at a casino affiliated with the online sports book or at a ”Pay Near Me” brick and mortar location. It may feel weird stopping at a Family Dollar store to deposit into a casino, but you’ll get over that once you internalize that this is a positive-EV venture. You’re not gambling, you’re playing with an edge. The funds will be in your account by the time you finish buying trial-size toiletries.
Finally, most sites allow you to deposit outside of their jurisdiction. Take advantage of this.
Other Tips for Online Sports Betting in Ohio
When dealing with online sportsbooks, there are small things that will go a long way in terms of convenience and safety.
- When chatting with customer service and given the option, always email yourself the chat transcript. There will be an icon in the chat window to request the transcript. This will save you hours if there is a dispute with the site later on. Say you make a first-time deposit but forgot to opt in to the new player bonus. If you chat with customer service they will most likely agree to apply the bonus manually to your account but if you make your first bet, lose, and do not receive your risk-free bet and you don’t have that transcript to prove that the representative agreed to apply the promotion manually, you’re likely out a bonus.
- Don’t use affiliate codes for bonuses. Yeah, I said it. Don’t go to “XYZ Sharp Sports Betting Information” website and use their affiliate code or click on the link they provide. Outside of the U.S. online casinos will track from where a player navigated to their site and use that information in the way they rate players. Is this the case in America right now? I don’t know, probably not. Could it be the case? Yes. So unless a sports betting site only gives you a bonus if you apply a code or use a link from an affiliate site, don’t do it.
- Maybe you did go ice fishing on Lake Erie with the family, and after catching a trophy-worthy walleye you want to wind down by opening online accounts with your adult daughter. Nothing nefarious about this. You both like to bet. It happens. Use different devices and stay off of the same Wi-Fi network. It’s not uncommon for two people in a family or who share an address to both have accounts. But if you ever use the same device to access those accounts, or use the same network or bank account, sportsbooks can find it suspicious. Almost always this will be against the rules, as outlined in their terms and conditions . They can retract your bonus and possibly your original deposit and any winnings. Be smart guys and girls!
- Read the terms and conditions of each individual site. When does your bonus money expire? Can you have two separate accounts in two states? Do you need to opt into a bonus when you deposit? Are there restrictions to which sports you can bet with bonus money? Can you cash out with a different method than you used to deposit? I cannot stress this enough – read the terms and conditions before you deposit. You’ll be surprised at some of the restrictions sites put on their users and other times what loopholes they have left unchecked.
Ohio Sports Betting Bonuses and Promotions
This list of bonuses is informative, not instructive. It’s simply a guide for you to use when planning your Ohio sports betting offensive. You should still do your own research and confirm that the bonuses listed are available. Having said that, the information I’ve gathered should shorten your research time by 75%. Most of the information below was taken from the sports betting sites themselves. Like The Constitution or the kid’s menu serving Scary Face Pumpkins during October at IHOP, this list is a living document. If I have new information before Jan. 1, I will make corrections.
Caesars is advertising a promotion in which new Ohio users can register a Caesars account prior to Dec. 31, deposit $20, and receive a $100 betting credit seven days after betting goes live. The credit expires seven days after that. Besides existing Caesars players, William Hill account holders are also ineligible. Though it doesn’t say explicitly, I believe that if you take this offer you then surrender the ability to sign up for a Caesars account in a different state and receive their standard first-time user $1,250 free bet offer. If you don’t have a Caesars account I urge you to sign up for a state other than Ohio.
DraftKings is offering a no-deposit $200 free bet promotional offer to new players when they sign up for an account through Dec. 31, along with an entry into a $100,000 free bet giveaway, opt-in required. Free bets expire in seven days. DraftKings terms and conditions do not explicitly state that day one begins on Jan. 1 but I’m inclined to believe that once Ohio sports betting launches, the promotional $200 in free bets will be deposited into your account.
FanDuel is offering an early sign-up bonus of $100 in free bets and three months of NBA League Pass for registering a sports betting account before Dec. 31. The free bets expire 30 days after Ohio sports betting goes live. It appears that this is a no-deposit bonus. Though FanDuel terms and conditions don’t mention restrictions, I believe that accepting this offer will disqualify you from a $1,000 No Sweat First Bet FanDuel offer if you sign up for a new account in another state. I suggest not taking advantage of the Ohio bonus and creating an account in a different state.
It’s not completely clear what BetMGM is offering for new users who sign up for an Ohio sports betting account. Affiliate sites advertise new users who register before Dec. 31 receive $200 in free bets on launch plus the standard BetMGM $1,000 risk-free first bet bonus, however I could only find information on the $1,000 new user risk-free first bet on the BetMGM website.
Bally Bet’s website states that Ohio is “coming online soon.” Bally Bet hasn’t officially committed to a Jan. 1 launch, but they did partner with the Cleveland Browns, so it would be surprising if they were delayed.
Barstool advertises a $1,000 new player bonus on their main sports betting site but as of Dec. 2, Ohio is not on the list of eligible states. This may change after Ohio sports betting launches. Otherwise there is no information available on their site specific to Ohio.
Bet365 is offering an Ohio early sign-up bonus that appears to be a no-deposit bonus as well. Join their site before Dec. 31 and get $100 in free bets. However, the fine print states that the bonus is only available “to customers residing in Ohio.” It’s unclear if a new user has to have an Ohio address or just be located in the state.
BetFred is advertising the chance to win Bengals tickets and a pre-registration bonus of $20 in the form of a free bet to new users who register by Dec. 31. To enter you have to follow one of BetFred’s social media accounts and submit your name on their Ohio sports betting site.
The BetFred bonus is only available to residents of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Most of the time the user need only be located in the state but this one is different and a great example of why you need to always read the terms and conditions before you create an account.
BetJACK is not offering any new user sign-up bonuses on their website.
Like Bally Bet, I there’s been no confirmation that Betly will launch on Jan. 1, though it appears they have plans to launch in Ohio early in the year.
The website for betPARX says that “The all-new sportsbook, betPARX is coming to Ohio!” However, they don’t list a launch date or information on bonuses.
It appears that Betr, a microbetting sports book, will launch in Ohio on Jan. 1.
BetRivers is offering to new users their standard $500 Second Chance Bet promotion at launch. 100% matched free bet if your first bet loses. Users need to opt in with the promo code SPORTS. This promo code was provided by BetRivers, not an affiliate site.
The Hard Rock sportsbook site touts an “Exclusive Ohio Only Offer.” The first condition listed is that the new user be in the state. The second condition directs the user to download the Hard Rock sportsbook app. After registering an account and placing a cash wager “Greater than $100 in the first 14 days after launch,” The bonus is only $50. Hard Rock’s new user bonuses in other states include free spins or $100 risk-free Bets. I don’t think Hard Rock Ohio will offer much better than those after launch.
It does not appear that PointsBet is offering any special promotions for their Ohio sports betting launch. Their standard promotion is $500 in free bets but the terms aren’t what you’ll find at other sports books. PointsBet requires new users to “Place a fixed odds bet each day for 5 days,” and “Get up to $100 back on your first fixed odds cash bet each day.” As of Dec. 2 PointsBet terms and conditions do not include Ohio as an eligible state, but I assume that will change once the site goes live.
I didn’t find any ads from Superbook for an Ohio specific new user bonus. Their standard new user bonus is a $1,000 risk-free bet. I assume that’s what they’ll offer once Ohio sports betting launches.
Tipico is offering three separate bonuses specifically targeted to Ohio users. Though the site doesn’t specify, I believe these are pre-registration bonuses that you must opt into before Dec. 31.
The terms of the Tipico bonuses are bananas. The first bonus offer for $150 in free bets reads “opt-in to the $25 Bonus Bet Offer and deposit $10 or more of real money on your first deposit after opt-in to receive a total of $150 in Bonus Bets credited as six $25 Bonus Bets to use in the Tipico Sportsbook.” Sounds OK, right? Deposit $10 and get $150 in free bets. Just wait.
Also advertised on the Tipico website is a “Deposit $100, Get $150” bonus. The terms state, “Successfully opt-in to the 150% Deposit Match offer and deposit $10 or more of real money on your first deposit after opt-in to receive 150% of the qualifying deposit up to $150 credited in Bonus Funds.”
Which means new users get either $150 in free bets for depositing a mere $10, or $150 in free bets for depositing $100. The only difference noted is if you deposit $100 your $150 free bet is a single bet rather than split up into $25 increments.
The third option is $250 Parlay Cash if you deposit $50 or more.
I wasn’t able to confirm that WynnBET is launching on Jan. 1, but some affiliate sites seem to think they are. If that’s the case I’d expect the bonus to be their standard welcome bonus of a $100 free bet.
These online sportsbooks and casinos in neighboring states do not appear to be launching in Ohio on Jan. 1 or have not received Ohio sports betting licenses.
- Wind Creek
- Gun Lake Casino
- Island Casino
- Golden Nugget
- Eagle Casino & Sports
- Firekeepers Casino
- Four Winds Casino
- Maxim Bet
- Bally Bet